ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
The new Çanakkale 1915 Bridge in northwestern Turkey will usher in a new era for the martyrs who vanquished their enemies 102 years ago in Çanakkale, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
said March 18 at a Martyrs’ Memorial Day ceremony that marked the 102nd anniversary of the Çanakkale Naval Victory.
Erdoğan, in the northwestern province of Çanakkale, said that when the bridge is completed, it would be the “world’s number one bridge.”
The bridge is expected to be built at a cost of around 10.35 billion Turkish Liras ($2.80 billion) and to be under private management for 17 years, and then be transferred to the Turkish government.
“God willing, we’ll see the opening of this bridge in five years on the eve of Turkey’s 2023 centennial,” Erdoğan said, adding the bridge will become the world’s number one as it is set to connect Asia to Europe
and vice versa.
“It is very important to know what kind of success the belief and determination of our Çanakkale martyrs have brought to us,” he said.
The battle was fought in the Dardanelles Strait in 1915 in Çanakkale’s Gelibolu (Gallipoli) district.
The victory gave Turkey a massive morale boost, which enabled it to wage the Independence War and eventually, in 1923, form a republic from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.
In the upcoming April 16 referendum on constitutional changes that will switch Turkey to a presidential system as well as other changes, Erdoğan said the changes aim to ensure that Turkey’s political system stays stable and secure, similar to the world’s strongest nations that run with a presidential system.
“If we aim to be among the top 10 economies [by 2023], we need a system through which we can compete with these countries,” he stressed.
He added the system would not be a mere copy of other nations, but would include local and national touches.
According to Erdoğan, if the political instability in Turkey since 1991 had never taken place, Turkey’s per capita income “would have been double its current $11,000, being $22,000.”
Turkey has been working to build giant infrastructure projects across the country to boost economic growth, including a third airport in Istanbul, which will have a capacity of up to 200 million passengers a year.
The airport will have a capacity of 90 million passengers in the first quarter of the next year and 150 million in 2023, according to Erdoğan.
In 2015, Turkey raised the bar with the financial closure of seven projects, totaling a record $44.7 billion, according to the World Bank Group.
A total of four mega projects are currently under construction, which include Istanbul’s third airport, the Gebze-Halkalı commuter train link in Istanbul, the Ovit tunnel in Turkey’s northeast, and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway.
Last year, Turkey opened a third bridge over the Bosphorus Strait, the Yavuz Sultan Bridge, named after the 16th century sultan known for his expansion of the Ottoman Empire, in addition to the world’s fourth-longest suspension bridge over İzmit Bay, which has been named the Osman Gazi Bridge, and the Eurasia Tunnel, which is an underground road link spanning under Istanbul’s European and Asian sides.